Bay of Plenty's Josiah Natzke is back in New Zealand after a long season of motocross racing in Europe, and the Honda rider was keen to take a break before he heads back to Germany in the New Year.
However, his best intentions of enjoying some rest and relaxation before rejoining his team in Europe went out of the window at the weekend, with just the slightest twist of the arm needed to get the 19-year-old back on a bike while he's back home.
Mount Maunganui's Natzke lined up in the SX2 (250cc) class at the inaugural S-X Open Auckland Supercross event on Saturday evening, on the extreme moonscape circuit laid out inside Mt Smart Stadium.
The massive event, which attracted a crowd of more than 21,000, also registered as the first of three rounds of the New Zealand Supercross Championships for the SX2 class only, providing even more motivation for Natzke and his sponsors Cannon Signage Concepts and Blue Wing Honda to enter.
Natzke ended up third overall in the SX2 class on Saturday, the best of the Kiwis, and he will now take that points advantage with him to round two of the New Zealand Supercross Championships at the Lucas Oil Motocross Park at Amisfield, in Tokoroa, this Saturday.
Natzke finished behind American rider Dakota Alix and Australian Ryan Marmont in the SX2 class at Mt Smart Stadium, but neither of these two men will be racing at Tokoroa.
"It's a great way to kick-start my New Zealand Supercross title bid," Natzke said.
"I have not raced since arriving home from Europe in September, so I knew Saturday night was going to be tough. But I enjoyed it immensely. The track was brutal and riding in front of so many people made me a little nervous, but I was happy with how I performed.
"I'm going back to Germany at the end of January, so the New Zealand Supercross Champs will be the only racing I'm now doing at home. It's been a while since I've won anything in New Zealand, so it would be nice if I can take a Kiwi title away this season."
There was a huge Honda presence at Mt Smart on Saturday night, with just-crowned Australian SX1 champion Justin Brayton, from the United States, leading the charge.
He was joined on the track by fellow Honda stars Brett Metcalfe, from Australia, and American riders Josh Hansen and Christian Craig.
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